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Shatter orders urgent investigation into the recording of prisoner phone calls

The minister has charged the the Inspector of Prisons to carry out the investigation.

Image: Shutterstock

THE MINISTER FOR Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter has called on the Inspector of Prisons to carry out an “urgent” investigation into the matter of conversations between prisoners and their solicitors being inadvertently recorded.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny revealed in the Dáil that the Irish Prison Service had informed the Minister for Justice that conversations between dozens of prisoners and their solicitors were “inadvertently recorded”.

The Prison Service has taken steps to rectify the matter “immediately”, said Kenny.

In a statement this evening, he said:

I have asked the Inspector of Prisons to carry out an urgent independent investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the recording of telephone conversations between prisoners and their solicitors.The Inspector has been asked to carry out his investigation pursuant to section 31 of the Prisons Act, 2007 and to submit his report to me as soon as possible.The Inspector’s report will be published.

Shatter outline the terms of reference of the investigation. They are as follows:

  •  identify the circumstances which gave rise to the recording of these telephone conversations and the action taken to address this
  • any action now required to address the issue including any amendments to existing law, regulations and practices
  • consider the data protection implications of the recording of conversations and any action required to ensure compliance with Data Protection legislation and the rights of those in prison.

Minister Shatter has requested the Inspector of Prisons to submit his report on the investigation as soon as possible.

A copy of Minister Shatter’s letter to the Inspector of Prisons has been given to the Director General of the Irish Prison Service who has been asked to provide the Inspector with every assistance possible.

Read: Penal Reform Trust to Prison Service: Prisoners deserve an apology along with lawyers>

Related:  Conversations between 84 prisoners and their solicitors were ‘inadvertently recorded’>

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